The Death of an Arab Jew

| כ״ד באב ה׳תשע״ז (16/08/2017) | 0 Comments
by Orit Bashkin


[ Introduction from the book Impossible Exodus: Iraqi Jews in Israel ]

In 1958, ‘Ezra Susu, a sixty-five-year-old disabled goldsmith and father of a disabled child, went into one of the many welfare bureaus in Israel. He drank sodium acid from a bottle, collapsed, and died on his way to the hospital. In the Knesset discussions that followed his death, the deputy welfare minister tried very hard to argue that ‘Ezra did not commit suicide: “One should not assume that there is any connection between his being in the welfare bureau at that day and his drinking sodium acid. I very much doubt if he wanted to kill himself.” Knesset members learned more details about this man from the deputy minister: he was generally depressed and his wife was blind, but his two daughters and his son were married and his family had recently moved to a nicer neighborhood. In fact, ‘Ezra was happy that day; he had come to pay a debt in the welfare bureau and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the debt was only three and a half Israeli liras, and not more, as he had originally thought. He took a sip from the bottle, which, so he thought, contained something to drink; unfortunately, he paid with his life for his mistake.1 It is very doubtful that a goldsmith would have mistaken acid for water. Thus to understand ‘Ezra’s story, we need to read beyond the depictions of the welfare bureau and think about why ‘Ezra might have been unhappy; whether his ethnicity had anything to do with his situation; and most importantly, why the state was so insistent in arguing that he was truly happy in the land to which he had immigrated.

Many Jews, like ‘Ezra, immigrated to Israel from Middle Eastern countries, as the state doubled its population in less than a decade after its establishment in 1948. Among these were Iraqi Jews; during the years 1950–51, 123,000 Iraqi Jews made their way to Israel; over the next decade they became Israeli citizens and eventually adopted Hebrew as their spoken and written language.2 These Jews, however, were not native sons returning to their homeland, but rather immigrants arriving at a new location, where they encountered prejudice and discrimination. The Iraqi-Jewish experience in Israel challenges the notion that Israel served as a melting pot for various global Jewish communities. The adoption of Israeli citizenship was a painful, violent, and traumatic transformation, and the rupture between Iraqi Jews and their Iraqi and Arab cultures did not occur overnight. In Israel, Iraqi Jews had to negotiate their most basic needs with a state, whose officials were unable, and often unwilling, to attend to their wishes and understand their pains and sufferings. In this process of becoming Israelis, however, Iraqi Jews resisted many state politics in both their public activities and in their everyday actions. The Iraqi migration to Israel sheds light on the dual processes of dehumanization and rehumanization, the latter being the victories in the daily and public battles to maintain human dignity the Iraqis managed to win.

Migration was an important part of the leading ideology of the Israeli state, Zionism. Created in the late nineteenth century, this European movement called for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Zionist concept that Iraqi Jews had to grapple with most was that of Exile. During the Ottoman period (which ended in 1917) and under the British mandate (which ended in 1948), Zionist activists tried to increase Jewish migration to Palestine and negotiated extensively with the British as well as other world powers concerning the quotas of Jews who were allowed to settle the area, in an attempt to establish a Jewish majority in the land. The act of migration itself came to acquire ideological, almost mystical, elements. In Zionism, “exile” signified a space of Jewish humiliation, weakness, and loss of identity. In the premodern era diasporic Jews had been wanderers dependent on the grace of kings and aristocrats, and in the modern era of emancipation their newfound status as citizens further encouraged anti-Semitism on the part of non-Jews, who resented their entry into the labor market and public life. Therefore, the Jewish inability to be identified, and to identify, with one national space, could only change in the Jewish homeland in Israel. There, the new Jew would become everything the Jew in exile was not: confident, brave, strong, independent, and most importantly, connected to the land. Thus migration to Palestine was marked by the word Aliyah, literally, “ascent,” but also a term with the essential connotation of the Jewish pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem (‘aliyah la-regel).3

This ideal of Aliyah contrasted sharply with the realities in Mandatory Palestine and Israel. As Aziza Khazzoom has shown, each wave of Jewish migrants to Palestine and Israel othered and orientalized the next generation of migrants.4 However, the Jews who had lived in Palestine before 1948 (the yishuv), namely the members of the old Sephardic community and especially European Zionists, shared certain formative experiences. The insightful scholarship of Michelle Campos and Abigail Jacobson has underlined the differences between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities in Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine.5 However, for both communities, the years of the national Palestinian revolt (1936–39), the years of the Holocaust, in which many Ashkenazi Zionists lost their entire families in Europe, and during which many Jews denied entry to Palestine by the British perished in Europe, and the 1948 War, in which one percent of the Jewish population in Mandatory Palestine was killed, were crucial in shaping their collective mentality and their ideological commitments. The members of the yishuv thus looked differently at the new waves of migrants who arrived in the state of Israel after 1948, who included Holocaust survivors (labeled plitim, “refugees,” in state discourse), Jews from Romania and Bulgaria, and Jews from Middle Eastern countries. Despite the property taken from the Palestinian population during the 1948 War, support from international Jewish organizations, and financial compensation from Germany, the state of Israel, which demanded that each and every Jew make his or her way to the Jewish homeland, did not have sufficient financial resources to absorb such masses of people and provide them with housing, employment, instruction in Hebrew, and basic social services. Although many members of the yishuv helped the newcomers in important ways (often by volunteering), the former also felt superior to the latter, who, the former felt, did not come to Israel out of ideological commitment, as had the previous Zionist migrants, but rather out of necessity.6

While the idea of migration has specific meanings in Zionist history, mass migrations are an important part of global modern history, especially as we seek to understand the dual process of movement of people and capital, alongside the fragmentations into nations, ethnicities, and distinct cultural regions.7 In the Middle Eastern context, the movement of refugees in the post–World War I era had generated new ideas about borders, citizenship, and minority rights.8 The view of refugees and migrants as changing the landscape of the Middle East is also true in the period after World War II. The displacement of the native Palestinian population during the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 changed the landscape of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Gaza under Egyptian control, states that faced the mass arrival of Palestinian refugees who could not return to their homeland. Concurrently, the waves of newcomers to Israel, of Jewish refugees from Europe who survived the Holocaust, as well as of Jewish Middle Eastern migrants, created new realities in Israel. These migration waves birthed a new Israel; they inspired new demographic discourses, formed a new ethnic labor class, and generated new racial politics in cities and towns.9

Interest in Middle Eastern communities and the potential of new settlers arose in Zionist circles especially after the Holocaust. After the establishment of the state, the state elites genuinely feared that Jews in the Muslim world would be persecuted because of their Jewish identity and their presumed affiliation with Israel. More crucially, the state needed migrants to populate territories conquered in 1948, and required manpower to enlist in its military and new industries. Concurrently, however, state elites knew that resources were scant and many officials and bureaucrats succumbed to utter panic when faced with these migration waves. Moreover, as with other migrants, refugees, and immigrant communities across the globe, state officials and members of the yishuv were concerned about the newcomers’ foreignness and questioned their ability to assimilate.10 The Arab culture of Iraqi Jews, as well as that of Jews from other Middle Eastern countries, was perceived as primitive and degenerate. In addition, it was racialized: these Jews were sometimes called kushim, shhorim, and schwartzes (derogatory terms meaning “black”) to signify their foreign and non-European racial identity.11

Iraqi Jews, then, arrived to a state whose elites had very conflicting notions about migration and very poor means to absorb them. Some Iraqi Jews had come to Israel in small numbers prior to the establishment of the state in 1948. Some came out for religious reasons and others with ideological motivations. The establishment of the State of Israel and the escalation of the Arab-Israeli conflict considerably worsened the position of Jews in Iraq. After 1948, the State of Israel increased the activities of Zionist emissaries and the local Zionist underground in Iraq in order to convince more Jews to leave. Starting in the 1950s, it also negotiated with the Iraqi government about the fate of Iraqi Jews, whose property, mobility, and dwelling place suddenly became a part of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Many of the matters relating to Iraqi-Jewish life were decided in clandestine negotiations between the Iraqi and the Israeli governments, negotiations that Iraqi Jews had no control over. Within Iraq, right-wing nationalists argued that the pro-Palestinian Iraqi position ought to be translated into a policy of treating Jewish citizens as Israel had treated the Palestinians. The community was trapped, and it left.

In Israel, Iraqi Jews, who had hoped for a better life away from persecution, found themselves struggling with segregation and poverty in a landscape shaped by decisions over which they had little control.12 In their first years in Israel, Iraqi Jews, as well as other migrants from Arab countries, lived like refugees: they had no property; they could not find work, feed their children and themselves, or get access to water without the support of the Israeli state; and they resided in shacks and tents. The state elites, however, assumed that the community’s pains were the normal, necessary course of migration. Nationwide considerations regarding settlement and demography guided these elites, rather than the Iraqis’ interests and desires. This made the newcomers particularly vulnerable, as an urban and educated community was suddenly voiceless and poor. Although Ashkenazi soldiers, doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, and officials protested the horrid conditions in which the newcomers lived, Iraqi Jews felt disrespected, humiliated, and abused. Nonetheless, their alienation from Israeli society has gradually shifted into a unique form of Israeli patriotism, which enable Iraqis to deal with being outcasts and strangers in their new homeland.13

The living conditions of the Israeli Iraqis in the 1950s were similar to those of the Palestinian community; Iraqi Jews shared much with both the Palestinian refugees and the Palestinians who became Israeli citizens, who now lived under a strict military regime that strongly inhibited their civil rights, as Shira Robinson showed in an important recent book.14 The Palestinian refugees and the Iraqi Jews in Israel suffered displacement and dealt with horrendous poverty and loss of social status. In Israel, both Iraqi Jews and Palestinians were third-class citizens: the Palestinians’ civil rights were crushed by a military regime, and Iraqi Jews suffered from the state’s neglect and from police brutality. This is not to say, however, that these populations were the same. Whereas the Palestinian refugees wanted to return to their land, and were denied citizenship rights in their new countries of residence, Israel did grant citizenship to the Jewish migrants. In public discourse, they were Jews returning to their homeland after long years in exile, not refugees yearning to return home. The state’s perception of the Iraqi Jews as returnees rather than refugees created a different situation from that of the Palestinian refugees in Arab states: while many Arab states washed their hands of the Palestinian refugees and called for international bodies to take care of them, Israel insisted on absorbing them by relying on the state’s poor economic resources, American support, global Jewish donations, and later reparations from Germany.

The most apt term for how the state interacted with the Iraqi-Jewish community is social engineering. State elites believed that all immigrants, especially Middle Eastern Jews, needed to become Hebrew speaking, socialist Zionists. The existence of poor communities of Jewish migrants in Israel gave the state’s elites the power to decide where these migrants would be settled, what jobs they might and might not hold, their degree of education, and the level of their salaries. In fact, many of the people in charge of the management of the newcomers’ lives would later on assume the highest leadership positions in Israel. These include the man who initiated the foundation of the transit camps to settle the migrants, Levy Eshkol; the charismatic young officer working in the transit camps during difficult winters, Yitzhak Rabin; and especially the diva of labor Zionism, Golda Meir, who was the minister of labor during the 1950s. Within this framework, the name Hasbara (literally “explaining”), a term that is now synonymous with Israel’s diplomatic efforts abroad to explain Israel’s cause and buttress its positive image, was also used internally. It marked the effort to explain to the newcomers themselves the logics behind, and the great benefits embodied in, the state politics which governed their lives. Despite the great pretensions of the social engineers, however, their project was run poorly, because the state had very limited economic resources. Moreover, the Israeli state during the 1950s was a bureaucratic maze. Many Zionist institutions created under Ottoman and British rule continued functioning while the state created its own apparatus. Thus different institutions carried out the same tasks and functions, and many state-within-a-state mechanisms existed. Implementations of official state policies were thus partial and often unsuccessful. The newcomers found this bureaucracy impossible to negotiate, but on the other hand, certain loopholes allowed them to challenge state decisions.

During the 1950s, Iraqi Jews, as well as other Middle Eastern Jews and European migrants, were settled in transit camps, known as Ma‘abarot (singular: Ma‘abara). In 1951, close to eighty thousand Iraqi Jews resided in a hundred transit camps.15 American Jews who visited these camps depicted them as “shanty towns,” “slums,” or “miserable collections of tin, wood and canvas huts.”16 The term ma‘abara means a place of transition, and it is translated throughout the book as a “transit camp.” Indeed, these camps were originally perceived as sites in which Jewish migrants would stay for a brief period of time. Tragically, however, many Jews remained in these camps for much longer periods (between one to seven years). Initially, residents lived in tents which were later replaced by huts and shacks. The transit camps suffered from poor sanitary and hygiene conditions, poverty, and neglect. They were the first site Iraqi Jews encountered and where they saw state officials and met other European and Middle Eastern Jews. While Iraqi Jews hated these camps, and longed to return to their homes in Iraq, for the Israeli state and society, the Iraqi-Jewish identity became closely connected to their residence in the transit camps. The important challenge for all Iraqi Jews at that time had to with acquiring the social mobility that would allow them to leave the transit camps.

The transit camps were liminal ethnic spaces which, in many ways, challenged the very essence of the nation-state. The Israeli elites did not see, and did not want to see, Iraqi Jews, as well as other residents of these camps in their midst. Concurrently, however, the blame for the hunger, disorder, and malaise typical of the lives of Iraqi Jews in these camps was not placed on the state’s policies, but rather these problems were seen as a reflection of the primitive Iraqi culture of the migrants. In the mainstream media, the image of the transit camps was that of an exilic, exotic, and un-Israeli space, where people refused to assimilate and preferred living in poverty rather than contributing to the Israeli economy. The transit camps, however, were also spaces that preserved the cherished memories of Iraq and the Arab culture of its people.17 Iraqi Jews writing today about their experiences in the transit camps highlight, not only the trauma of migration and dislocation, but also the nostalgia for simpler times, typified by modesty, communal solidarity, and friendship.18 This book challenges both the nostalgic image of the transit camps and the state’s attempts to pathologize and stereotype their residents, and looks at everyday lives in these camps.

Historian Thomas C. Holt underlined the significance of everyday experiences of black men and women and their recollections of their relations to their families, neighbors, and friends. Holt demonstrated how these silenced histories of everyday acts of petty exclusions were connected to historical processes and structures, which sustained racism on a much larger scale.19 Previous scholarship on migration to Israel has tended to focus exclusively on the state itself and its actions toward, and representations of, Middle Eastern Jews; it focused less on individuals. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Israeli sociologists, anthropologists, and historians celebrated the mass migration to Israel as a great achievement of the Israeli melting pot policy. In the State of Israel, so it was argued, occurred a “merger of exiles,” in which different Jewish cultures and identities were merged into the Israeli national culture.20 In the 1980s and 1990s, scholars challenged these perspectives, pointing out that the marginalization of Middle Eastern Jews enabled the state to benefit from an underprivileged and cheap labor force whose lower social status was determined by its ethnicity. During the 1990s and 2000s, post-Zionist scholarship in the Israeli academy, a scholarship that was critical of both Zionist ideology and its implementation, have studied the state’s mechanisms of discrimination in different fields: education (notably, the placement of Middle Eastern children in vocational schools) and the state’s settlement policies (notably, the settlement of Middle Eastern Jewish families in border regions), as well as the state’s labor, land, and housing policies. Pointing to the state’s violence embodied in the melting pot ideology, scholars bemoaned the erasure of the Arab, Turkish, Persian, and Eastern cultures of the Jewish migrants. These scholars have also highlighted the potential of the hybrid and hyphenated identities of Middle Eastern Jews to challenge the state’s relationships with its Arab neighbors and Palestinian citizens and subjects.21

As much of the scholarship on ethnic relations in Israel has directed its attention to the state, the voice of the individual (especially that of women and children), as well as his or her daily experiences, were often lost. While it is important to analyze politics and major bureaucratic institutions, this book examines how Iraqi Jews themselves dealt with the traumas of migration and discrimination: how family life took shape when families lived in crowded tents and wooden shacks; how Iraqi men attempted to support their families in an unfair labor market; and how Iraqi women raised children in the most horrendous conditions, when just procuring a necessity as basic as drinking water required a long journey outside the transit camp. Children were among the victims of these conditions. They went to bad elementary schools; some were used as extremely cheap workers; still others had a diet that was far from nutritious, one that was based on a food stamps regime in which dairy and meat products were quite rare under severe austerity measures. This book is inspired by the important studies of Esther Meir-Glitzenstein, Deborah S. Bernstein, and Orit Rozin on this topic, while it focuses on the political meanings of everyday race relations, survival, and mobility in these contexts.22

The focus on the Iraqis themselves is linked to two important themes in Israeli history, resistance and agency.23 Bryan Roby’s recent study uncovered dozens of cases in which newcomers from Middle Eastern countries protested and rejected state politics from 1949 to 1967. Roby has labeled this a struggle for civil rights and has drawn intriguing parallels between this struggle and the African-American civil rights movement, which happened at the same time.24 Iraqi Jews were part of this culture of resistance and organized dozens of protests. They participated in strikes and held meetings in cities and demonstrated in the camps where they lived.25 Resistance, moreover, came in many manners and forms. In my opinion, Iraqi mothers in transit camps who managed to get their children out of the cycle of poverty by working several jobs; teachers who organized classes and schools, without state permission; and Iraqi children who critiqued the lifestyle of the kibbutzim that hosted them, were no less heroic than those of the more organized groups of the Israeli Black Panthers in the 1970s. Perhaps they were even more so. And I hope my book will do justice to their heroism and their struggles.


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1. Records of the Knesset, State of Israel [henceforth: RK], vol. 23: 784; 3rd Knesset, session 403, 3–5/February/1958.

2. For the number of newcomers to Israel, see Chapter 1, p. 22.

3. Theodor Herzl, Der Judenstaat: Versuch einer modernen Lösung der Judenfrage (Leipzig: Breitenstein, 1896); for an important analysis of concepts of exile in Jewish history more broadly, see: Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, “History, Exile and Counter-History: Jewish Perspectives,” in A Companion to global Historical Thought, ed. Prasenjit Duara, Viren Murthy, and Andrew Sartori (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2014), 126–35.

4. Aziza Khazzoom, “The Great Chain of Orientalism: Jewish Identity, Stigma Management, and Ethnic Exclusion in Israel,” American Sociological Review 68:4 (2003): 481–510.

5. Michelle Campos, Ottoman Brothers, Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2011); Abigail Jacobson, From Empire to Empire: Jerusalem between Ottoman and British Rule (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2011).

6. Hanna Yablonka, Survivors of the Holocaust: Israel After the War, trans. Ora Cummings (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999); Tom Segev, The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust, trans. Haim Watzman (New York: Hill and Wang, 1991, 1993).

7. Adam McKeown, “Global Migration, 1846–1940,” Journal of World History 15:2 (2004): 155–89.

8. Keith David Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015); Benjamin Thomas White, The Emergence of Minorities in the Middle East: The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press: 2012); Seda Altug, “Sectarianism in the Syrian Jazira: Community, Land, and Violence in the Memories of World War I and the French Mandate (1915–1939),” Ph.D. diss., Utrecht University, 2011.

9. On Jewish migration to Israel after 1948, see: S. N. Eisenstadt, The Absorption of Immigrants (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954); Dvora ha-Kohen, ‘Olim bi-s‘ara, ha-‘Aliyah ha-gdolah u-klitatah be-Yisra’el, 1948–1953 (Jerusalem: Ben Tzvi, 1994); Moshe Lissak, Ha-‘Aliyah ha-gdola bi-shnot ha-hamishim, kishlono shel kur ha-hituch (Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik, 1999); Mordechai Na’or, ed., ‘Olim u Ma‘abarot, 1948–1952 (Jerusalem: Yad Ben Tzvi, 1986); Dalia Ofer, ed., Ben ‘Olim le-Vatikim, Yisra’el ba-‘aliya ha-gdola, 1948–1953 (Jerusalem, Yad Ben Tzvi, 1996); Orit Rozin, Hovat ha-Ahava ha-qasha: Yahid ve-kolektiv be-Yisra’el bi-shnot ha-hamishim (Tel Aviv: ‘Am ‘Oved, 2008).

10. For a useful comparison on how Depression-era reformers looked at the Jews and the Italians of the Lower East Side, see: Suzanne Wasserman, “‘Our Alien Neighbors’: Coping with the Depression on the Lower East Side,” American Jewish History 88:2 (2000): 209–32.

11. For a brilliant analysis of state politics toward Mizrahim, see: Ella Shohat, “Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Victims,” Social Text 19:20 (1988): 1–35.

12. For an excellent analysis of how migration to new urban spaces affects race relations and the African-American working class, see: Joseph Heathcott, “Black Archipelago: Politics and Civic Life in the Jim Crow City,” Journal of Social History 38:3 (2005): 705–36.

13. On the productive ways of thinking of W. E. B. Du Bois’s notion of outcasts and strangers in their homeland in the context of race relations in the United States, see: Thomas C. Holt, “The Political Uses of Alienation: W. E. B. Du Bois on Politics, Race, and Culture, 1903–1940,” American Quarterly 42:2 (June 1990): 301–23.

14. Shira Robinson, Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel’s Liberal Settler State (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2013).

15. Esther Meir-Glitzenstein, Ben Bagdad le-Ramat Gan: Yotz’ey ‘Iraq be-Yisra’el (Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Tzvi, 2008), 111–12.

16. The fifth Annual Study Mission of the United Jewish Appeal to Israel, Europe and Muslim Lands, The Other Side of the Coin: A Report to American Jewry, October 29–November 9, 1958, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee online archives [henceforth: JDC], (accessed 7/March/2017).

17. For an excellent parallel on how Jews retain their eastern European culture in the United States, see: Rebecca Kobrin, “The Shtetl by the Highway: The East European City in New York’s Landsmanshaft Press, 1921–39,” Prooftexts 26:1–2 (2006): 107–37.

18. Attestations of this nostalgic approach around found in Tzila Dagon, Sippura shel ma‘abara be-Ramat ha-Sharon (Ramat ha-Sharon: Ha-Merkazim ha-khilatiyyim Ramat ha-Sharon, 2007). The book includes fifty-nine testimonies of mostly Iraqi Jewish residents of the camp, and some former employees, that depict their daily experiences there. See also: Ines Elias, “Yaldey ha-Ma‘abarot kotvim et ha-historia ha-mushteket,” Haaretz, August 18, 2016, (story on the children of the transit camp of Ness Ziona) (accessed 29/October/2016).

19. Thomas C. Holt, “Marking: Race, Race-Making, and the Writing of History,” American Historical Review, 100:1 (1995): 1–20; see also: Mary Corbin Sies, “The Everyday Politics and Spatial Logics of Metropolitan Life,” Urban History Review / Revue d’Histoire Urbaine 32:1 (2003): 28–42.

20. The foundational texts, influenced by modernization theory, are: S. N. Eisenstadt, The Absorption of Immigrants (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954), and Essays on Sociological Aspects of Political and Economic Development (The Hague: Mouton Press, 1961). For the changes in this ideology see: Daniel Gutwien, “From Melting Pot to Multiculturalism; or, The Privatization of Israeli Identity,” in Israeli Identity in Transition, ed. Anita Shapira (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004), 215–33.

21. Shlomo Swirski, Israel’s Oriental Majority (London: Zed Books, 1989); Lissak, Ha-‘Aliyah; Hannan Hever, Yehouda Shenhav, and Pnina Motzafi-Haller, eds., Mizrahiyim be-Yisra’el, ‘iyun bikorti mehudash (Jerusalem: Van Leer, 2002); Gai Abutbul, Lev Grinberg, Peninah Motsafi-Haler, eds., Kolot Mizrahiyim: Likrat siah mizrahi hadash ‘al ha-hevra ve-ha-tarbut ha-Yisraelit (Tel Aviv: Masada, 2005); Sammy Smooha, Israel: Pluralism and Conflict (London: Routledge and Paul Kegan, 1978); Aziza Khazzoom, Shifting Ethnic Boundaries and Inequality in Israel; or, How the Polish Peddler Became a German Intellectual (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2008); As‘ad Ghanem, Ethnic Politics in Israel: The Margins and the Ashkenazi Center (London: Routledge, 2010); Oren Yiftachel, Ethnocracy: Land and Identity Politics in Israel/Palestine (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006); Khazzoom’s excellent study in particular focuses on the formation of Mizrahi identity through allocation of resrouces, while paying heed to the Iraqi case.

22. Rozin, Hovat; Deborah S. Bernstein, “Ha-Ma‘barot bi-shnot ha-hamishim,” Mahbarot le-mehkar u-le-bikoret 5 (1980): 5–47; Meir-Glitzenstein, Ben Bagdad.

23. Scholars of Mizrahi history and politics, Sami Shalom Chetrit in particular, have argued that major Mizrahi resistance to the state began in 1959 with the riots of North African Jews in the Haifan region of Wadi Salib, and developed into a full-fledged resistance movement with the Mizrahi Black Panthers in the 1970s, and the more organized political movements of the 1980s and 1990s, like the SHAS party and the Democratic Mizrahi Rainbow. Sami Shalom Chetrit, Intra Jewish Conflict in Israel: White Jews, Black Jews (London: Routledge, 2010).

24. Bryan K. Roby, The Mizrahi Era of Rebellion: Israel’s Forgotten Civil Rights Struggle, 1948–1966 (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2015).

25. For resistance in Palestinian-Israeli context: Joel Beinin, Was the Red Flag Flying There? Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948–1965 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Ilana Kaufman, Arab National Communism in the Jewish State (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997); Maha Tawfik Nassar, “Affirmation and Resistance: Press, Poetry, and the Formation of National Identity Among Palestinian Citizens of Israel, 1948–1967” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 2006); On Palestinian communists, culture and literature, see: Ibrahim Taha, The Palestinian Novel: A Communication Study (London: Routledge/Curzon, 2002).



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